2016 Holiday Helper Program

During the 2016 holiday season the FamilyWorks’ holiday program helped over 100 families—more than 225 children—this year! Our efforts would not be met without the generosity of donors and partnerships throughout the community. This program gave our families the opportunity to engage in the holiday season without the barriers of financial hardship. Gifts came from families, organizations, anonymously and with great grandeur! We cannot thank you enough. We will carry our gratefulness for all of you into the new year.

Special thanks to the people and organizations:
University Village
Calvary Church
Little Friends Preschool
Top Ten Toys
Shannon Hayes – Group Health
Shaelynn Christine – Pantsuit Nation

– Gladys Martinez – FamilyWorks Family Program Coordinator

Edsel Blanche, Family Programs Coordinator, had this story to tell of an experience he had working with the Holiday Program.

“Arriving in the parking lot during a cold afternoon, I grabbed a couple of holiday donations to bring into the FamilyWorks’ Resource Center. The red ribbons and holiday wrapping caught an eye of a man by the name of Jorge. Exiting the building after he grabbed some food from the food bank, he was accompanied by his son. Jorge kindly asked if there was anywhere that offered toys for his four children.


Holiday Helper recipients writing thank you cards.

In the middle of the lot, we began chatting for a couple of minutes. I asked if he knew about the holiday program at FamilyWorks to see if he was already enrolled. Since he was new to the area and it was his very first time going to this food bank Jorge wasn’t aware of the program. I explained in detail what the Resource Center offered and highly encouraged him to visit us, not only for the holiday program but to utilize the other resources we offered as well, such as meeting with the Family Advocate. With determination Jorge assured me that he’d visit within the next couple of days after I gave him one of my cards with my contact information.

In a few days, I saw Jorge, along with his family, inside our Resource Center connecting with our Family Advocate. It was great to see them getting familiar with the organization as a whole and then later going into the holiday program to pick out gifts. As we connected and discussed what specific items he was looking for, he asked his son to come over and told him to show me the bottom of his shoes. Lifting his foot up, there were holes and tears. The sole was so bad it was to the point where it looked like an open toed shoe, where you could see his baby blue socks hanging out. Luckily we were able to find shoes that fit his son’s feet perfectly, Jorge was extremely happy, and with gratitude thanked me multiple times that his son had a new pair of shoes to wear at school.


Holiday Helper recipients writing thank you cards.

This holiday program allowed Jorge to not only to get materials such as toys and clothing for his children, it meant a kind gesture during a rough time as he transitioned to living within the Wallingford neighborhood. The pressure to provide for his children during the holiday season was alleviated, and he left FamilyWorks with a smile on his face.”